Waterfowling on Earthquake Lake

Waterfowling on Earthquake Lake

Every fan of duck hunting should make the pilgrimage to Tennessee's famous mallard waters to test a new gun.

Reelfoot Lake looms enormously in the consciousness of modern waterfowling, a place of legend. At 15,000 acres and an average depth of 5.5 feet, this is duck heaven. Vast cypress-filled waters surrounded by swamps and marsh beckon staggering numbers of waterfowl, and hunters. The culture is deep, with many types of both duck calls and calling styles evolving here, and waters rimmed with enormous heritage blinds that are state-of-the art.

Crazy thing is, the lake itself is actually pretty young! Far-reaching earthquakes centered around New Madrid in Missouri in 1811 formed “Quake Lake” as part of the land sunk and retreated, to put it simply. Reelfoot is just across the Big Muddy from New Madrid, and tremors from these quakes were felt far into Canada.

Ultimately, it’s a pretty spectacular place to test out a new shotgun.

WILDFOWL has repeatedly profiled both the glorious hunting on these waters as well as the cool duck-dependent community that surrounds and relies on the lake.


WF’s own Jim McConville ventured here in December to try to melt the barrels on a CZ 1210 semi auto loader as well as their 12 gauge Swamp Magnum over under, along with Daniel Holder from CZ and Kristi Scott Heuring from Aguila Ammunition. Kristi’s father David Elrod teamed with guide Carl Roger and his son Blake.


“The Reelfoot Lake duck hunting experience just swallowed me up,” said McConville. “The duck blind was like a floating 5-Star resort roughly 24 feet long and 10 wide. The Rogers were able to pull the boat into a fully covered hide, so our hunting party could then step through a sliding door into a heated duck shelter with a fully operational kitchen with stove and steaming coffee pot.”


These guys aren’t new at this. Carl Roger is a third generation duck guide, and his grandfather established the business back in 1952 with a blind location that Carl uses today. “One of the most fascinating things I saw was Carl Roger calling in ducks to the decoy spread by using his voice YANK, YANK, YANK!” McConville reports.

The autoloader proved an affordable home run.

“When I grabbed the bronze version of the 1210 and pointed it to the sky, I was waking up all the positive sight pictures in my brain from the past three decades of hunting ducks and geese,” Big Jim said. “It just felt right, and when I started to feed it with some Winchester Super X 12 Gauge #4 3” magnums at 1550 fps, it came alive exhaling each round like a machine. It made it easy to hit the incoming ducks that responded to Carl’s silky sweet voice.”


Jim McConville and Kristi Scott Huering with ducks

The 5-star blind/resort known as #R134 (TN Wildlife Permit # for Reelfoot Lake Blinds) played host to Kristi’s first duck hunt, as well.

“So we all agreed to let the lady shoot first, and then Kristi dropped her first gadwall drake then a drake spoonbill,” Jim says, “So we ALL said the heck with that, it’s every man, woman, child and black lab for themselves.”

Expect to shell out about $660 for the 1210 Bronze version, though MSRP prices typically sway a bit. At a price like that you can afford to hot-foot it to Reelfoot, and you are crazy not to try. If you’re a history geek, the place has a fascinating and tumultuous past worth reading about—land barons and night riders battling it out. Wild West stuff on these now sublime waters.


Recommended for You

Take it from a pro: Less is more. For Dogs

Dog Discipline Tips & Gear

Joe Genzel - June 20, 2019

Take it from a pro: Less is more.

A dainty English setter suited for the uplands has the drive for waterfowl. Stories

The Accidental Duck Dog

Jack Ballard

A dainty English setter suited for the uplands has the drive for waterfowl.

Nourish your pup's noggin for elite performance. Retriever

Gun Dog Nutrition & Intelligence

Tony J. Peterson

Nourish your pup's noggin for elite performance.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Women

Women's Waterfowl Lineup

SITKA Gear waterfowl product manager Jim Saubier shows off the company's full line-up of women's waterfowl hunting gear for 2019. From warm and moisture-wicking base layers to water and windproof outer layers, this is a complete system for women who love to chase fall and wintertime ducks and geese across the four flyways!

Wentz Bros Outdoors - Throwback Waterfowl

Wentz Bros Outdoors - Throwback Waterfowl

This video is a classic! Take a front row seat with Carson as he hunted back in college. The clips are all either filmed with a GoPro or cell phone!

Browning A5 Shotgun -

Browning A5 Shotgun - 'Gun Stories'

Gun Stories host Joe Mantegna talks about the origin and history of the Browning A5 shotgun.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

While there's no guarantee they'll make you a better shot, these 8 newly-designed shotgun choke Accessories

8 Best Choke Tubes for 2017

Wildfowl Online Staff - October 25, 2017

While there's no guarantee they'll make you a better shot, these 8 newly-designed shotgun...

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads Ammo

11 Best New Shotshell Loads For Waterfowl

Wildfowl Online Staff - August 17, 2017

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call. Calls

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during...

See More Stories

More North America

Here are some of our favorite walk-in areas that can really deliver on the ducks if you're willing North America

No Boat? Try These Walk-In Hunting Opportunities

David Hart - September 01, 2016

Here are some of our favorite walk-in areas that can really deliver on the ducks if you're...

 On the short list of must-hunt destinations in the world of waterfowling, Manitoba holds a secure North America

Manitoba: A Waterfowl Mecca

Brad Fenson - February 12, 2018

On the short list of must-hunt destinations in the world of waterfowling, Manitoba holds a...

Here are five top locations for killing a pile of snows this spring. Conservation

2020 Snow Goose Forecast

Mark Chestnut - December 27, 2019

Here are five top locations for killing a pile of snows this spring.

See More North America

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.